Building a HERMS setup but want to BUY the controller

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Laminarman

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I am going to make a 5 gallon HERMS system on a cart I will weld together, for 240v. However, I am not too much into electricity and I want to cut time so decided to spend more on a controller rather than build one. Does anyone have recommendations for an out of the box controller that will control the MT/pump/BK...etc like at theelectricbrewery.com? Thank you.
 

sillbeer

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Laminarman

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I think that would work. While controlling two elements would be great, I don't have a problem plugging into the BK and controlling it after the mash. I'll have to look closer at the electricbrewery features. Thank you.
 

sillbeer

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That's how I'm currently brewing with a High Gravity unit. I plug the mash element in and then afterwards I plug the BK element in. I'm putting it up for sale soon after I pick up the kit from Auberins.

I think that would work. While controlling two elements would be great, I don't have a problem plugging into the BK and controlling it after the mash. I'll have to look closer at the electricbrewery features. Thank you.
 

bassmang4

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Just started using a 50 amp PID back to back panel with added volt and and meters plus a third pump switch from ebrewsupply. First run was awesome. Thought about a kit but just not enough time with all the other stuff in life. Their price difference between a kit and assy isn’t that much. Their prices are very reasonable too.

Having two elements at once is rather convenient at times.
 

augiedoggy

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Just started using a 50 amp PID back to back panel with added volt and and meters plus a third pump switch from ebrewsupply. First run was awesome. Thought about a kit but just not enough time with all the other stuff in life. Their price difference between a kit and assy isn’t that much. Their prices are very reasonable too.

Having two elements at once is rather convenient at times.
building a panel isnt for everyone but just to keep this conversation realistic.

$2400 for $500-600 worth of hardware prebuilt into a panel, or $1650 sold as a kit is still a pretty hefty markup either way. Some people find or use some of the same spare time they find to brew for that kind of money...
 

bassmang4

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Agreed you can save by building your won, however my assembled panel wasn't even close to $2400. I in no way am shill for ebrewsupply.com, but am rather glad I found them. I originally looked at the kits and assembled panel from our friends to the north (who I assume you’re referencing for your prices) and agree it was a steep price. I did a spreadsheet to compare costs to assembled vs sourcing the components and tools. I wish I kept it. It was well over $500-600 for all the parts and tools (add shipping for multiple sources...) to build a comparable panel. ebrewsupply.com 30a kit $1,150, assy $1,550. 50a kit $1,350, assy $1,750. 30a scratch and dent assy $1,317.50. 50a scratch and dent $1,445. Add volt and amp meters to make it match the other guys, $125. Those are shipped prices, with a stainless enclosure, temp probes incl, main power cable incl, and mine had the motor adaptor cables included too so you don’t have to cut the cord off your motors. The other guys would be twice the price when you add the cables and probes… So in the end I wouldn't have save that much money to get the panel I wanted.
 

augiedoggy

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Agreed you can save by building your won, however my assembled panel wasn't even close to $2400. I in no way am shill for ebrewsupply.com, but am rather glad I found them. I originally looked at the kits and assembled panel from our friends to the north (who I assume you’re referencing for your prices) and agree it was a steep price. I did a spreadsheet to compare costs to assembled vs sourcing the components and tools. I wish I kept it. It was well over $500-600 for all the parts and tools (add shipping for multiple sources...) to build a comparable panel. ebrewsupply.com 30a kit $1,150, assy $1,550. 50a kit $1,350, assy $1,750. 30a scratch and dent assy $1,317.50. 50a scratch and dent $1,445. Add volt and amp meters to make it match the other guys, $125. Those are shipped prices, with a stainless enclosure, temp probes incl, main power cable incl, and mine had the motor adaptor cables included too so you don’t have to cut the cord off your motors. The other guys would be twice the price when you add the cables and probes… So in the end I wouldn't have save that much money to get the panel I wanted.
Ok you got the smaller 50a panel for $1750. But still that kit at
$1,350 its still around 3 times what it would cost to just shop around and buy the stuff from regular online suppliers. Thats my point... You see only a small $300 price difference because you wanted to so you could justify it at the time to yourself.
Its no different than the large trade in values car dealerships will sometimes advertise... Most people really know they are just inflating the price of the car by the extra amount but use it to talk themselves into the sale.

I built my old 30a panel in my avatar like 4.5 years ago... That controlled 2 4500w elements and one 1800w 240v rims as well as 3 dc pumps with built in speed controllers, it had float and flow switches wired in to prevent dry firing and a timer.. That panel cost me a whopping $290 to build (if I built another it would be closer to $400 with the better components I would buy the second time around) ... Yes I built it on the cheap and having someone assemble it would likely double the cost(plus I would be paying more with downtime every time a component needed replacement because id be clueless of how it worked) But theres still a huge (double) difference between even $800 and the 1,600 a more basic model would cost from ebrew..
All im trying to say here is you need to be realistic. its really not only a couple hundred dollars difference between buying and building one of those panels. its only that way if you buy everything from ebrew.

If you were talking about brau supply up north , You may know I priced out each component in thier panels right down to the $6 aluminum enclosure. Their 240 single element with a pump control box was around $175-200 in parts if one didnt substitute anything for a less expensive version. and the crazy thing is now hes gone with even cheaper components on his latest more expensive system which utilzes a $9 stc1000 with the relay swapped for an ssr as the brains of it which is a huge step backwards from the ezboil controller his older system used.

A person should be able to find a decent one element 240v control panel with a switched outlet for the pump like the OP was asking about for a few hundred dollars...
The big 50a or even gadget filled 30a panels are usually all about convenience or the joy of building them for those that discover a new hobby after they get enough confidence to build their first panel and decide they want to build something with more toys. Or those that truly have the extra dough to spare laying around. either way they are not exactly "cost effective" in a home brewing environment. unless your brewing for a college fraternity house.
 
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Laminarman

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Thank you for all the advice. I agree that around 2 grand is a bit ridiculous. I like the Auber unit and I'm reading the temperature controller manual now. I think this would work well as long as I plug the BK temperature probe in after the mash. That's not a big deal, and with two pump controllers I think it would be a fit.
 
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Laminarman

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https://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=701

Are you looking for something like that or do you want to control two elements? Auberins is coming out with a 30 amp kit that will control two elements sometime this week. I've been emailing them and working on a pre buy. They said for about $450 they would assemble it but would prefer to offer them as DIY kits.
Oops, just re read this. I sure would be interested in a two probe controller. I looked on the web site haven't seen it? Any more information on it?
 

sillbeer

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I paid for a pre buy yesterday. Here's some bits of info I cut from multiple emails.

It is our Brew Buddy Control Panel.

We prefer to sell it as a kit with price around $849 ~899. If you need to buy it as a plug n play, it will be an additional labor fee of $450 and one week lead time.

The KIT includes (4) temperature probes, DIN Rail, DIN Rail terminal blocks, circuit breakers, SSR, contactors and wiring diagram, uncut box and its punching specification. It does not include power cord, output connector, wiring or wiring terminals.

The thermometer in the middle of the control panel is our SYL-2802A; this is a dual channel thermometer.

We used (2) DSPR310 and (1) SYL-2802A on the Brew Buddy Control Panel. Of course you do not need to follow exactly the same with our design, you can simply modify your existing system.
 
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Laminarman

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Hmmmm...nice. It might be overkill for me but I'll continue considering this. Some of the issue is this will all be mounted on a cart to be wheeled around, this looks like a larger footprint and would need to mount it to the cart very well.
 

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augiedoggy, no need to be combative and tell me Im deluding myself into justifying buying a panel prebuilt. Theres no need for that here. I won't go through all four paragraphs and counter all thats stated there. Laminarman asked about panels like theelectricbrewey.com (friends up north) and thats exactly what I provided advise on. I don't to argue with anyone.

I will state the same advise that if someone wants a comparable panel to theelectricbrewery or ebrewsupply, with the same components and features, you won't really save over a kit from ebrewsupply unless you search for used or non-comparable parts. You can build a panel on the cheap, but Im talking about a comparable panel. My original plan was to buy all the parts myself and save. I scoured the internet for the cheapest prices including shipping, added it all in a spreadsheet so I had everything accounted for, and ran the math with everything included. Not just add up the main parts. The math don't lie. Kit price was the same if not less when all was said and done compared to ebrewsupply (NOT theelectricbrewery). The price to get it assembled was a time decision, and their adder for labor was rather reasonable considering all the hours I'd have to spend on that vs brewing or other stuff. More power to someone who wants to build their own panel...but Laminarman didn't want to either and Im sure many other don't as well. Just my advise and experiance for those looking.
 

augiedoggy

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augiedoggy, no need to be combative and tell me Im deluding myself into justifying buying a panel prebuilt. Theres no need for that here. I won't go through all four paragraphs and counter all thats stated there. Laminarman asked about panels like theelectricbrewey.com (friends up north) and thats exactly what I provided advise on. I don't to argue with anyone.

I will state the same advise that if someone wants a comparable panel to theelectricbrewery or ebrewsupply, with the same components and features, you won't really save over a kit from ebrewsupply unless you search for used or non-comparable parts. You can build a panel on the cheap, but Im talking about a comparable panel. My original plan was to buy all the parts myself and save. I scoured the internet for the cheapest prices including shipping, added it all in a spreadsheet so I had everything accounted for, and ran the math with everything included. Not just add up the main parts. The math don't lie. Kit price was the same if not less when all was said and done compared to ebrewsupply (NOT theelectricbrewery). The price to get it assembled was a time decision, and their adder for labor was rather reasonable considering all the hours I'd have to spend on that vs brewing or other stuff. More power to someone who wants to build their own panel...but Laminarman didn't want to either and Im sure many other don't as well. Just my advise and experience for those looking.
I dont know where your looking but the prices your finding are simply too high.
perhaps you can point a few components out with links?
I''l provide a couple...
this chinese element here
https://ebrewsupply.com/collections/elements/products/304-stainless-steel-element-5500w-ulwd-ripple

is the same as this element here, a seller which I have purchased from and these prices are real.
https://www.alibaba.com/product-det...pm=a2700.7724838.2017115.1.125b8ad0M4onRT&s=p (only I bought the tc 30p plug based elements for $16 each from there myself.)I was quoted $7 each for the ones above plus $15 shipping so $22 vs $42 + shipping
My point is he has quite a markup on a lot of the stuff he resells.

There is simply no way they assemble the whole panel for $300 as your implying.

Yes the electric brewery prices are pretty much the highest but that was also because he got a commission off everything purchased through his links provided for convenience (which he discloses on his site) which = higher markups and he chose the most of the higher cost components available at the time to begin with.

MY point for the OP was not to build his own but that he should be able to find a more cost effective solution elsewhere.
 
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bassmang4

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Dude! I said I’m not going to argue with you on this and you’re all over the place. This thread about a guy looking for advise on a prebuilt panel. Elements arent part of a panel kit or assembly. I never implied anything about $300 assembly cost. I just stated prices listed online. You inferred it off of that...and you didn’t even do the math correctly! $1,750-1,350 or $1,550-1,150 is $400.

Chill out. Give your opinion or advise and let the reader decide. This isn’t debate club.
 
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Laminarman

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As I've been thinking about this, and after talking to Auber, I may not go with the CUBE. They said too much switching and if I'm going to the expense to build a 5 gallon HERMS system it makes little sense to not have it controlled properly. So I might have to bite the bullet and am considering the Brew Buddy as posted here by Sillbeer. I asked her by email the size footprint but haven't gotten that yet. Keeping all this to a manageable size and on a rolling cart is paramount so I might have to be creative.
 
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Laminarman

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I'm the OP and if I had the skills or laid out drawings I'd build it myself. One concern is TIME, which I don't have a ton of, but could manage to build it. The other is the fact I'm working with 240 and don't want to kill myself. I have built a vacuum tube audio amplifier and pre-amplifier and they were tedious soldering but all parts and diagrams were VERY well laid out. Didn't want to kill myself on brew day and that's why I was looking for something pre built. I guess it's unlikely I'll find anything adequate for $500 and that's OK, but I could do the $900 kit and build it myself as she said they supply almost everything except wire and connectors but do provide a build sheet and instructions. I could also keep costs down going to a 120v system but don't want an anemic boil.
 

augiedoggy

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Dude! I said I’m not going to argue with you on this and you’re all over the place. This thread about a guy looking for advise on a prebuilt panel. Elements arent part of a panel kit or assembly. I never implied anything about $300 assembly cost. I just stated prices listed online. You inferred it off of that...and you didn’t even do the math correctly! $1,750-1,350 or $1,550-1,150 is $400.

Chill out. Give your opinion or advise and let the reader decide. This isn’t debate club.
My response was simply about the cost of a panel from ebrew prebuild or not being much higher than it needs to be.. Your "Arguement" was that it wasnt and you found the same prices when shopping around for the components..
 

bassmang4

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Laminarman, caution is good for any electrical but don’t be afraid of it. 240 or 120 can kill you. Just don't touch two wires at the same time. ;) If you can build an audio amp or preamp, Im sure you can build panel. My last bit of advise is that you should get the best tools you can afford for several reasons. How often has some gotten mad and said they with they would have bought the cheap tool. 99-1 its the other way around. A good tool doing exactly what its supposed to with no fuss is a great feeling. And cheap tools can end up being reeeeeaaaallly expensive. If you end up messing up whatever your working on, that can cost more than the difference in cost between a cheap and not so cheap tool. Just a little hand me down advise I was given and have learned is spot on.
 

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Poor OP, thread being drug through the mud on irrelevant discussion. EBrew seems to provide similar control, depending on the panel, as electric brewery but with different brand components and internal configuration. It comes down to how much control you want and how fancy, brand conscious, do you want your panel to look. I think ebrew is a great alternative to electric brewery. Looks like Auberins upcoming panel is more simplified and competitive if they will assemble. You have to ask yourself if it will meet your needs and what functions do you think you will utilize on any of the mentioned panels? I would be wary of panels from eBay.

Discussions regarding DIY are completely irrelevant. Bad mouthing a company based on perceived mark up is also irrelevant. Prices are set based on demand, which apparently isn’t an issue. If the prices and mark up were more than the majority consumer base wanted, said company would need to lower price to compete. They aren’t; market equilibrium.
 
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Laminarman

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What features do I want? Temperature on three vessels, two pump switches, two heating elements I guess. Don't need many alarms, lights, whistles, locks, switches, polished stainless..etc. Safety, functionality and consistency are all I care about. I'm the kind of guy who never uses half the electronic crap in my car but drives the daylights out of it hard because it was meant to be driven that way. Same with this, I want to make good beer not look cool doing it : ) I really don't care about brand to be honest.
 

charger

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This is the size of the box that will be used for the Auberins controller, 16x16x8.

https://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=34&products_id=430
Looks like they are using the precut 16x12x8 in the photos you provided. I think the auberins controller is the way to go for what you want, complete function without some of the other bells and whistles. And if you aren’t interested in wiring, cutting holes etc., assembly for 450 isn’t bad, if they’ll offer that.

https://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=34&products_id=305
 
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Laminarman

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Looks like they are using the precut 16x12x8 in the photos you provided. I think the auberins controller is the way to go for what you want, complete function without some of the other bells and whistles. And if you aren’t interested in wiring, cutting holes etc., assembly for 450 isn’t bad, if they’ll offer that.

https://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=34&products_id=305
This is all helpful, thank you everyone. I guess wiring a control panel during the winter months isn't a bad thing.
 

sillbeer

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I plan on wiring mine over the Winter. I'm like you and want something basic without the bells and whistles. I probably won't even wire up the alarm.
 

sillbeer

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Looks like they are using the precut 16x12x8 in the photos you provided. I think the auberins controller is the way to go for what you want, complete function without some
of the other bells and whistles. And if you aren’t interested in wiring, cutting holes etc., assembly for 450 isn’t bad, if they’ll offer that.

https://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=34&products_id=305
The box is not precut. They provide a template to cut it which I prefer as I want to modify the placement of things slightly. I'm sure for a fee they will cut it for you.
 
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Laminarman

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I would prefer to cut it myself too, which isn't a big deal.
 

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Sillbeer, would you by chance have the wiring diagram for that? I've got almost the exact same build going. Just different in i have 4 element ins, and a couple extra switches/lights. Still trying to figure out how to wire that amp/volt meter and the PIDS to the alarm.
 

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I don't. I only paid for the pre-buy and haven't received the kit yet. I saw your other post asking about wiring that up. Did you look at the linked schematic that Auberins has on their site?
 

EyeofdaHawk

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Thanks. Yep i have looked closely at the Auberins setup. Sadly it is very unclear for those doing more than BIAB setups. Clearly that is their main market. I wonder if putting it before and after the main power coil would work as it connects all the components including the pumps and lights, not just the elements.
 

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I could also keep costs down going to a 120v system but don't want an anemic boil.
120v brewer here. Don't listen to anyone who tells you 120v will give you an inadequate boil. I have brewed on 120v for several years now. Normal sized boils of 7.5 gallons only require a single 1650 watt element to achieved the recommended 6-10% boil off (0.5 to 0.75 gallons in my case).

I can make up to 12 gallon batches using two elements, boiling 13 or so gallons easily.

I use two elements while ramping temperatures to cut down on time, but at the end of the brew day I spend maybe 10-15 minutes extra time because my total rated heat input is 3300 watts instead of 5500 watts.

Something to keep in mind, everything is cheaper on 120v, especially GFCI protection.

Enough rambling. Why not get a Brewtronix Hosehead? 50 amp capable, super compact, and $475. I'm assuming Corey can keep costs so low because there's not as much hardware involved with a controller like this.

http://brewtronix.com/epages/8a95cd...d73-7860-44f3-bf15-555c5378c28a/Products/H5BC
 

teesherv

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I agree that working with 240v can be dangerous, but if you're comfortable with 120v and understand how to be safe with that, you can handle 240v. That attitude of wanting to be safe and refusing to take shortcuts will go a long way, and there's a ton of info here on HBT.
I was going to buy a pre-built panel but couldn't justify the expense to myself or my wife :) Since I'm good with electrical at 120v and rewired our 240v dryer outlet to 4 prong, I dove into research and built my own panel.
Since then I've built 3 more for friends. It can be done and takes few weekends to make.
Finally, make sure you think about GFCI protection for the entire set up. My fellow brew friends overlooked that, so we had to take care of before setting up their panels.
Lemme know if I can answer questions. And if you go pre-built, let us know how it went!
 
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Laminarman

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120v brewer here. Don't listen to anyone who tells you 120v will give you an inadequate boil. I have brewed on 120v for several years now. Normal sized boils of 7.5 gallons only require a single 1650 watt element to achieved the recommended 6-10% boil off (0.5 to 0.75 gallons in my case).

I can make up to 12 gallon batches using two elements, boiling 13 or so gallons easily.

I use two elements while ramping temperatures to cut down on time, but at the end of the brew day I spend maybe 10-15 minutes extra time because my total rated heat input is 3300 watts instead of 5500 watts.

Something to keep in mind, everything is cheaper on 120v, especially GFCI protection.

Enough rambling. Why not get a Brewtronix Hosehead? 50 amp capable, super compact, and $475. I'm assuming Corey can keep costs so low because there's not as much hardware involved with a controller like this.

http://brewtronix.com/epages/8a95cd...d73-7860-44f3-bf15-555c5378c28a/Products/H5BC
Wow Texas...never heard of them. Certainly going 120 will save money and I guess all I read was 120 didn't work so well. I have 240V but would have to run an extension from where it is (outside near my welder) into the house for winter brewing which would be a pain. 120 makes everything so much more flexible since I can brew in multiple locations, near water and sink...etc. I'm going to look at that closely.
 

TexasWine

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Wow Texas...never heard of them. Certainly going 120 will save money and I guess all I read was 120 didn't work so well. I have 240V but would have to run an extension from where it is (outside near my welder) into the house for winter brewing which would be a pain. 120 makes everything so much more flexible since I can brew in multiple locations, near water and sink...etc. I'm going to look at that closely.
If you want to go 120v, a very attractive option is the Inkbird PID controller. @bobbym sells a modded version with a pump switch.

https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/tempcontrol_ipb16.htm

You can control one element with the Inkbird and run a second straight across at 100% during ramping. If you want, you could even buy/build some type of switching box for the second 120v circuit so you can turn the second element and second pump on/off and avoid plugging in live loads. That's essentially what I do, but I have plans for a build that will allow the second element to be run by the controller as well.

But, if you have 240 available, that Hosehead would be a very good option.
 

augiedoggy

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Poor OP, thread being drug through the mud on irrelevant discussion. EBrew seems to provide similar control, depending on the panel, as electric brewery but with different brand components and internal configuration. It comes down to how much control you want and how fancy, brand conscious, do you want your panel to look. I think ebrew is a great alternative to electric brewery. Looks like Auberins upcoming panel is more simplified and competitive if they will assemble. You have to ask yourself if it will meet your needs and what functions do you think you will utilize on any of the mentioned panels? I would be wary of panels from eBay.

Discussions regarding DIY are completely irrelevant. Bad mouthing a company based on perceived mark up is also irrelevant. Prices are set based on demand, which apparently isn’t an issue. If the prices and mark up were more than the majority consumer base wanted, said company would need to lower price to compete. They aren’t; market equilibrium.
I did not bad mouth anyone. It is what it is. if what they do looks bad to you than you made that assumption.
Is it not pertinent to this conversation to bring up the fact that something may cost the OP much more from one supplier being recommended than others? Especially when someone else already implied that the prices are better than or equal to everywhere else which was simply not true. I can offer links to other brand specific items he sells and let you compare the prices if you like.. Theres nothing "perceived" about it. ebrew offers better customer service and often replaces components that have failed withing a reasonable timeframe but the consumer does and will pay for this in the form of higher prices.

If you go back and read my first response you can see I was trying to not get into the details of it but when comments about them being the same price as anywhere else were again reaffirmed then I responded to provide more information.

I have no idea what the OP's budget is like nor his outlook on paying more for things than he has too.. its not really my business. All im trying to do here is provide him with information that might prevent him from making a decision based on inaccurate information provided by others. Its really no different than what bassman did himself when he commented about his opinion of the electric breweries prices being high.
If the prices were really the norm and cometitive everywhere we wouldnt be having this conversation... The fact of the matter is people like buying things in a one stop shop like walmart and they are more likely to spend the money at a place they heard of that spends more for advertising (also raises the price) I'm sure ebrew does well but it really doesnt mean you cant buy the same component from a non specialty shop supplier for much less... Anyone whos ever bought a wiper blade for $30 from a commisioned oil change chain vs $10 at an autostore is familiar with the "cost of convenience", Thats if they are a conscientious consumer..
Those same people would also keep in mind, the $100 brandname tool there looking at is really just a cheap generic chinese tool rebranded and sold for more in some cases. I used to work on machinerey that was rebranded and sold at all different pricepoints and still see it quite a bit in a lot of things I repair right down to the flatscreens I repair as a hobby.. There is a big market in fooling people with marketing.

I also agree with the comment above that for what you get the hosehead is a very reasonable solution as well as the inkbird for 120v...
 
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